Srinagar, May 29: In recognition of their supreme sacrifice, indomitable courage, resilience in the face of adversities during a major fire in 21 Field Ammunition Depot at Khundroo, twenty-two fire-fighters, including 14 posthumously, were awarded Presidents Fire Service Medal for Gallantry.
The award of this medal to Defence Fire Service personnel from Army is unprecedented in Indian History, a defence ministry spokeperson said here adding it was a humble tribute by the grateful nation in acknowledgement of the valour and sacrifice of these brave men.
Those awarded include Fire Master Kuldeep Singh, Chaman Lal, Daljeet Singh, Fireman Sanju Singh Bali, Fireman Surjeet Singh Bali, firemanBasheer Ahmad Mir, Fireman Muneer Ahmad Lone, Fireman Sudesh Kumar, Fireman Sarabjeet Singh, Fireman Daya Ram, Fireman Abdul Rasheed Bhat, Fireman Rajesh Kumar, Fireman Openderjeet Singh, Fireman Tariq Ahmad( all Posthumous), Mohan Singh, Richpal Singh, Rattan Singh, Yunus Raja Sheik, Sorag Singh, Nirmal Singh, Fireman Mohd Ayub Bhat and Fire Master Gurmukh Singh.
Giving details about the incident the spokesperson said on August 11,2007, at around 0845 hrs a major fire broke out in 21 Field Ammunition Depot at Khundroo in south Kashmir district of Anantnag engulfing the explosive and ammunition resulting in devastating explosions.
Notwithstanding the intensity of blasts or fire, and with total disregard to personnel safety the crew on duty at the fire brigade immediately rushed to the scene of fire alongwith truck fire fighting (TFF).
The fire staff started fighting the fire in the face of extreme adversity despite repeated explosions around them. As the fire was raging severely, it could not be brought under control and after a while the water in the fire trucks was totally exhausted.
Undeterred, the fire staff continued with their efforts. By this time the fire had engulfed all the neighbouring ammunition stacks kept in the open and the fire fighting staff was hit by splinters of exploding bombs and in the process fourteen of them sustained fatal splinter injuries, while seven others were seriously wounded.
He said in recognition of their supreme sacrifice and display of indomitable courage, resilience in the face of extreme adverse conditions and selfless devotion to duty twenty two people have been awarded the Presidents Fire Services Medal for Gallantry.